© Sherrell Steele, 2013. All rights reserved.
24th of June

An Expansion of a Lifetime

When it comes to waistlines, expansion is not always celebrated. But when it comes to Sarah Meffen, expansion is well worth celebrating!

As director of corporate communications at Edmonton International Airport (EIA), Sarah celebrated an expansion of a lifetime.


It all began with a vision of a world-class airport in Edmonton. The goal was to build loyalty to EIA by demonstrating the customer benefits of expansion. With an additional half million square feet added, the EIA doubled in size. Along with this expansion, Sarah experienced a career highlight of a lifetime.

How else to celebrate but to plan nine events between December 8, 2011 and Feb 11, 2012?

Sarah’s objective was to educate Edmontonians about the Airport expansion and create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the community. Nine parties in two months. That’s expansive!

Sarah’s first event was a December media tour, then a party for staff on January 7.

“We felt it important that our internal audience experienced the excitement first.” explains Sarah.

The next event was for the 5,000 small businesses, sub-contractors and service providers who work at the airport. The January 21 celebration was for the business community. The EAI Trial was held on January 28. And Opening Day was February 11, 2012.

How does Sarah measure success? “We wanted the community to feel pride.”

Between December 2011 and March 2012 there were 156 media stories. The estimated Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) is $200,000.

There have been 15,500 views of the Opening Day videos. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL27FA494D3CFFA722&feature=plcp

There are 1,000 new followers on Twitter, 4500 mentions and 6500 retweets. On Facebook there are 10,000 stories. Edmontonian’s awareness of the expansion is 95%. This is a 22% increase since last August. Seventy-five percent of Edmontonians believe that the expansion will benefit their travel experience.

Putting success in financial terms, EIA set a new passenger record in January. And there was double digit growth in passenger numbers in February.

What was next?

The new, 210-room on-site hotel with 2,000 square feet of meeting space, The Canadian Border Services Agency and the International/Domestic Lounge and the Central Tower opened in 2012.

Further expansion! And for Sarah Meffen, expansion equals celebration. With no time to waist/waste.






Sherrell Steele is a consultant in strategic communications and public relations with experience as manager of public relations with the province’s largest professional association. Looking for a communications audit? Communications consulting? Public relations advice? Publication analysis? Website review? Marketing advice? Media relations. Contact her at sherrell.steele@gmail.com Phone (780) 298-6149.

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